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Arts and Culture Master Plan
Cultivate a Vibrant Cultural Community

A collaboration of arts, business, education and government leaders will develop an actionable plan based on our vibrant arts, history, and cultural resources [which] will enhance the Saranac Lake area’s reputation as a special place on the planet to visit, work, study, raise a family, and retire. Implementation will build new markets, revitalize downtown, and help artists not just survive, but thrive. Fostering the creative economy will increase tourism, benefit the region’s businesses and foster further private investment. It will exemplify to other communities across New York how the arts can lead community growth.


Project:

The Village of Saranac Lake, with partners in public, private, education, arts, and cultural sectors, will build on the foundation of this area’s history and vibrant, diverse cultural community, to develop a collaborative Arts and Culture Master Plan which will provide actionable strategies for strengthening the arts, artists, and economy in the area and make the Saranac Lake Area a world-class destination for arts and culture. It will:

  • Provide actionable strategies to assist artists in forming partnerships with businesses, finding outside funding for projects, and collaborating with other artists on new creative ventures
  • Leverage the area’s unique assets including over 50 studios and galleries, a 38-year-old professional theatre, historic district, and a location on travel routes including the Olympic Scenic Byway and Great Northern Forest Canoe Route
  • Outline enhanced walking and driving tours that bring new audiences to studios and galleries
  • Identify infrastructure improvements to enhance the experience of visiting museums and arts venues
  • Develop new shoulder season events which will improve quality of life for residents and artists, and extend the tourism season
  • Identify and develop solutions for the diverse musical arts such as marketing and scheduling coordination
  • Encompass healing and culinary arts.
  • Engage and educate the community around existing and potential impact of the arts
  • Integrate with festivals and competitions as envisioned by Adirondack International Artworks
  • Benefit from existing and planned investments such as Hotel Saranac
  • Build on downtown revitalization initiatives including planned Arts Center
  • Using consultants with expertise in arts planning, we will understand assets, collect and assess priorities and project ideas, and prioritize strategies to engage new audiences, increase tourism, and harness the power of the creative economy to revitalize downtown

Consultant:

A group representing arts and culture organizations in the area developed a Request for Proposal (RFP). We received six responses, asked additional questions specific to each respondent, checked references, and after discussion and careful evaluation chose AMS Planning and Research consultants. They bring great experience in arts master plans to complement the input of the broad range of stakeholders, and have existing knowledge of Saranac Lake due to prior work here. 
A key element of their work was to hold interviews with stakeholders which would include artists, performance organizations such as music and theater, historical organizations, educators, and patrons. The plan included measurements as well as a market assessment of demand, including full time and seasonal residents and visitors. The plan was completed in 2018.

AMS Planning and Research has completed the following reports:

Situation Analysis

Update Report

Community Meeting Deck

Updated Recommendations

Arts and Cultural Master Plan - Presentation

Arts and Cultural Master Plan

Arts and Cultural Master Plan - Facilities Assessment

Arts and Culture Master Plan - Appendices

Potential Outcomes:

A community of artists that doesn’t just survive, but thrives.

A reputation for the arts, activities, and events that increases tourism and attracts creative business owners and employees.

More customers for new and existing businesses.

Increased job opportunities (arts and tourism).

Increased access to arts and culture for students, veterans, seniors, and low-income residents.

Success metrics will use the most current NEA Creative Placemaking methods, with collaboratively developed rubrics.

To accomplish this, the plan will:

List actionable strategies reached through collaboration among stakeholders (arts/culture, education, business, government).

Cover visual, performing, literary, and healing arts, and museums and cultural offerings.

Build on proven strengths of existing institutions and events including Saranac Lake Artworks, Historic Saranac Lake, Pendragon Theatre, BluSeed Studios, First Night Saranac Lake, Art Walks, Plein Air Festival.

Encompass the many existing proposals including the Community Arts Center, Cinema Saranac Lake, Regional Arts Trail, and others.

Reflect existing planning documents, downtown revitalization, and regional economic priorities.

Be locally centered and regionally inclusive.

Establish a baseline for measurement based on community aspirations.

 

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